The Color Purple

Paperback | May 28, 2003

byAlice Walker

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Now a Broadway musical Winner of the Pulitzer Prize Winner of the National Book Award Published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. This is the story of two sisters-one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South-who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life. Intense emotional impact . . . Indelibly affecting . . . Alice Walker is a lavishly gifted writer." - New York Times Book Review "Places Walker in the company of Faulkner." - The Nation "Superb . . . A work to stand beside literature of any time and place." - San Francisco Chronicle "A novel of permanent importance." - Peter S. Prescott, Newsweek "

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From the Publisher

Now a Broadway musical Winner of the Pulitzer Prize Winner of the National Book Award Published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. This is the story of two sisters-one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South-who sustain their loyalty ...

ALICE WALKER is an internationally celebrated writer, poet, and activist whose books include seven novels, four collections of short stories, four children's books, and volumes of essays and poetry. She won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1983 and the National Book Award.

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You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Short Stories
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see all books by Alice Walker
Format:PaperbackPublished:May 28, 2003Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0156028352

ISBN - 13:9780156028356

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from An important piece of literature. My enjoyment of this novel was a slow build-up, but once I adjusted to Celie’s way of speech and the story moved along, I couldn’t put it down. After completing this book I can definitely see and agree with the importance of this novel in literature, especially when examining American culture and feminism. I would recommend this book to those who have an interest in books of those themes.
Date published: 2016-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Color Purple Great read! Much better than the movie! Good for a warm summers day! Just to relax with! I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Date published: 2015-06-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The color purple A great book. You are cheering Celie on to get her happy ending
Date published: 2014-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Timeless classic Raw and real
Date published: 2014-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Timeless classic I was actually pretty intrigued by the book, I had already saw the movie, but, was glad that I read the book. Even though the movie is very good, the book gives a more detailed description and answered a lot of questions that I never thought of. It gives a detailed look into Celie's life, where you can't help but wonder if the letters that she was writing to god and her sister were the only things keeping her alive.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Colour Purple(Highly Recommended “The Colour Purple” is a very intense, emotional and toughing piece of writing. Alice Walker is a very gifted and affective author. This novel tells of a girl named Celie whose childhood is taking from her at a young age and she could tell no one but God. The only person who stays by her side and makes her feel loved is her little sister, Nettie. When she is 14, her step-father whom she thinks is her father at the time, rapes and impregnates her twice. He sells the babies so no one will even suspect he is the father. Her mother who never founds out eventually dies and the family looks to Celie for care. Celie later on marries off to a man who initially wants Nettie. This man referred to as “Mr.” settles for Celie because their step-father refuses to give him Nettie. Nettie runs to Celie and Mr. when her father attempts to make her sleep with him but is kicked out by Mr. because she refuses to sleep with him either. He vows to keep her and Celie apart forever. Nettie ends up finding Celie’s children and their parents then moves to Africa with them as a missionary. Celie has to put up with Mr.’s children and the woman he’s loved all his life, Shug Avery. Despite all of the care and admiration, Shug treats Celie terribly but later comes to not only like, but love her. Shug is the one who saves Celie from her living nightmare and helps her start over. Celie over comes all the people who held her down, establishes a successful business, inherits her mother’s house as well as her father’s store, and is reunited with Nettie and her children. After reading this novel and viewing the film version critically, I feel that Steven Spielberg’s vision of the novel and mine were very similar. The way I envisioned the novel on film was slightly more detailed than Mr. Spielberg portrayed it. As I read, I saw myself in it, watching everything as it happens. In the beginning, everything is dark and grim. You can feel Celie’s (the main character) pain as she is raped and abused throughout the book. It was as if I was seeing everything they said and did. This is why I feel the novel was more enjoyable. The actors/actresses chosen were very similar to what I envisioned the characters as and I feel they played their roles well. Though the plots were almost identical, the novel remains my preference. The main flaw of the film is the lack scenes from Nettie’s life as the years go by. Unlike the film, the novel tells both stories throughout the book, allowing everything to come together more affectively and making the reunion a moving moment. Three quarters through the film is when Nettie’s letters are found and scenes are shown as Celie reads through them. Overall, both the novel and film were amazing. I would recommend the novel to anyone who can handle a tough, intense story with a beautiful ending.
Date published: 2011-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting story of a woman's empowerment Alice Walker's The Color Purple, written in 1982, is a story about an African-American woman that is oppressed most of her life and mistreated. By writing letters to God does she find her salvation. I did not like how the story was written through letters, but that was the most effective means to communicate it. I was not able to relate to the protagonist, Celie, but I did pity her situation and wanted to know more of the story she was trying to tell. The story starts when Celie is younger, 14, living with her father and dying mother. Celie has been raped by her father and impregnated by him twice. Unable to be properly educated, the part of the novel that consists of her letters is told without the use of proper English. Her father takes her children away from her and gets her married off to a man referred to as Mr. _____. The use of such names shows Celie’s rejection of the marriage. Celie works hard for her husband and his children, but is looked down upon as ugly, and even beaten. Mr. _____ brings Shug Avery, an independent woman that Mr.______ was and is in love with, into his home. Shug is predicted not to live long because of her weak state. She is rude to Celie, but Celie thinks she is beautiful, and cares for her. This starts the relationship between two women, from which Celie is able to realize that she is worth something. Watch Celie grow up and become empowered with the love of a woman. Will Celie ever find her missing sister, Nettie? 3.5/5
Date published: 2009-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book is filled with emotion, passion and understanding.It's a truely great book, one of the best books I've read in awhile
Date published: 2009-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simple and beautiful What a beautiful work. I had seen the movie version of this book years ago but had never quite gotten around to reading the book itself. However, I have tickets to the theatre production of the same story and I felt I could not fully appreciate it unless I read the book. Once more the movie pales in comparison to the written word. The tone is both simple and mature the individuals come alive and are vivid, the sentiments real and not promotional and the text stands without judging... a truly successful work of literature and a must read. Simply splendid.
Date published: 2009-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the color purple this is actually a really good book. when I first picked it up i thought it would be boring but when i started reading I was truly amazed. Alice Walker is an amazing author who knows how to use words like no other author I've read. go read this.
Date published: 2005-09-15

Extra Content

Read from the Book

You better not never tell nobody but God. It'd kill your mammy.Dear God,I am fourteen years old. I am I have always been a goodgirl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know whatis happening to me. Last spring after little Lucious come I heard them fussing. He was pulling on her arm. She say It too soon, Fonso, I ain't well. Finally he leave her alone. A week go by, he pulling on her arm again. She say Naw, I ain't gonna. Can't you see I'm already half dead, an all of these chilren.She went to visit her sister doctor over Macon. Left me to see after the others. He never had a kine word to say to me. Just say You gonna do what your mammy wouldn't. First he put his thing up gainst my hip and sort of wiggle it around. Then he grab hold my titties. Then he push his thing inside my pussy. When that hurt, I cry. He start to choke me, saying You better shut up and git used to it. But I don't never git used to it. And now I feels sick every time I be the one to cook. My mama she fuss at me an look at me. She happy, cause he good to her now. But too sick to last long.Dear God, Mr. ______ finally come right out an ast for Nettie hand in marriage. But He won't let her go. He say she too young, no experience. Say Mr. ______ got too many children already. Plus What about the scandal his wife cause when somebody kill her? And what about all this stuff he hear bout Shug Avery? What bout that? I ast our new mammy bout Shug Avery. What it is? I ast. She don't know but she say she gon fine out. She do more then that. She git a picture. The first oneof a real person I ever seen. She say Mr. ______ was taking somethin out his billfold to show Pa an it fell out an slid under the table. Shug Avery was a woman. The most beautiful woman I ever saw. She more pretty then my mama. She bout ten thousand times more prettier then me. I see her there in furs. Her face rouge. Her hair like somethin tail. She grinning with her foot up on somebody motocar. Her eyes serious tho. Sad some. I ast her to give me the picture. An all night long I stare at it. An now when I dream, I dream of Shug Avery. She be dress to kill, whirling and laughing.Dear God, I ast him to take me instead of Nettie while our new mammy sick. But he just ast me what I'm talking bout. I tell him I can fix myself up for him. I duck into my room and come out wearing horsehair, feathers, and a pair of our new mammy high heel shoes. He beat me for dressing trampy but he do it to me anyway. Mr. ______ come that evening. I'm in the bed crying. Nettie she finally see the light of day, clear. Our new mammy she see it too. She in her room crying. Nettie tend to first one, then the other. She so scared she go out doors and vomit. But not out front where the two mens is. Mr. ______ say, Well Sir, I sure hope you done change your mind. He say, Naw, Can't say I is. Mr. ______ say, Well, you know, my poor little ones sure could use a mother. Well, He say, real slow, I can't let you have Nettie. She too young. Don't know nothing but what you tell her. Sides, I want her to git some more schooling. Make a schoolteacher out of her. But I can let you have Celie. She the oldest anyway. She ought to marry first. She ain't fresh tho, but I spect you know that. She spoiled. Twice. But you don't need a fresh woman no how. I got a fresh one in there myself and she sick all the time. He spit, over the railing. The children git on her nerve, she not much of a cook. And she big already. Mr. ______ he don't say nothing. I stop crying I'm so surprise. She ugly. He say. But she ain't no stranger to hard work. And she clean. And God done fixed her. You can do everything just like you want to and she ain't gonna make you feed it or clothe it. Mr. ______ still don't say nothing. I take out the picture of Shug Avery. I look into her eyes. Her eyes say Yeah, it bees that way sometime. Fact is, he say, I got to git rid of her. She too old to be living here at home. And she a bad influence on my other girls. She'd come with her own linen. She can take that cow she raise down there back of the crib. But Nettie you flat out can't have. Not now. Not never. Mr. ______ finally speak. Clearing his throat. I ain't never really look at that one, he say. Well, next time you come you can look at her. She ugly. Don't even look like she kin to Nettie. But she'll make the better wife. She ain't smart either, and I'll just be fair, you have to watch her or she'll give away everything you own. But she can work like a man. Mr. ______ say How old she is? He say, She near twenty. And another thing-She tell lies.Dear God, It took him the whole spring, from March to June, to make up his mind to take me. All I thought about was Nettie. How she could come to me if I marry him and he be so love struck with her I could figure out a way for us to run away. Us both be hitting Nettie's schoolbooks pretty hard, cause us know we got to be smart to git away. I know I'm not as pretty or as smart as Nettie, but she say I ain't dumb. The way you know who discover America, Nettie say, is think bout cucumbers. That what Columbus sound like. I learned all about Columbus in first grade, but look like he the first thing I forgot. She say Columbus come here in boats call the Neater, the Peter, and the Santomareater. Indians so nice to him he force a bunch of 'em back home with him to wait on the queen. But it hard to think with gitting married to Mr. ______ hanging over my head. The first time I got big Pa took me out of school. He never care that I love it. Nettie stood there at the gate holding tight to my hand. I was all dress for first day. You too dumb to keep going to school, Pa say. Nettie the clever one in this bunch. But Pa, Nettie say, crying, Celie smart too. Even Miss Beasley say so. Nettie dote on Miss Beasley. Think nobody like her in the world. Pa say, Whoever listen to anything Addie Beasley have to say. She run off at the mouth so much no man would have her. That how come she have to teach school. He never look up from cleaning his gun. Pretty soon a bunch of white mens come walking cross the yard. They have guns too. Pa git up and follow 'em. The rest of the week I vomit and dress wild game. But Nettie never give up. Next thing I know Miss Beasley at our house trying to talk to Pa. She say long as she been a teacher she never know nobody want to learn bad as Nettie and me. But when Pa call me out and she see how tight my dress is, she stop talking and go. Nettie still don't understand. I don't neither. All us notice is I'm all the time sick and fat. I feel bad sometime Nettie done pass me in learnin. But look like nothing she say can git in my brain and stay. She try to tell me something bout the ground not being flat. I just say, Yeah, like I know it. I never tell her how flat it look to me. Mr. ______ come finally one day looking all drug out. The woman he had helping him done quit. His mammy done said No More. He say, Let me see her again. Pa call me. Celie, he say. Like it wasn't nothing. Mr. ______ want another look at you. I go stand in the door. The sun shine in my eyes. He's still up on his horse. He look me up and down. Pa rattle his newspaper. Move up, he won't bite, he say. I go closer to the steps, but not too close cause I'm a little scared of his horse. Turn round, Pa say. I turn round. One of my little brothers come up. I think it was Lucious. He fat and playful, all the time munching on something. He say, What you doing that for? Pa say, Your sister thinking bout marriage. Didn't mean nothing to him. He pull my dresstail and ast can he have some blackberry jam out the safe. I say, Yeah. She good with children, Pa say, rattling his paper open more. Never heard her say a hard word to nary one of them. Just give 'em everything they ast for, is the only problem. Mr. ______ say, That cow still coming? He say, Her cow.Dear God, I spend my wedding day running from the oldest boy. He twelve. His mama died in his arms and he don't want to hear nothing bout no new one. He pick up a rock and laid my head open. The blood run all down tween my breasts. His daddy say Don't do that! But that's all he say. He got four children, instead of three, two boys and two girls. The girls hair ain't been comb since their mammy died. I tell him I'll just have to shave it off. Start fresh. He say bad luck to cut a woman hair. So after I bandage my head best I can and cook dinner-they have a spring, not a well, and a wood stove look like a truck-I start trying to untangle hair. They only six and eight and they cry. They scream. They cuse me of murder. By ten o'clock I'm done. They cry theirselves to sleep. But I don't cry. I lay there thinking bout Nettie while he on top of me, wonder if she safe. And then I think bout Shug Avery. I know what he doing to me he done to Shug Avery and maybe she like it. I put my arm around him.Copyright © 1982 by Alice WalkerAll rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproducedor transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the workshould be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.First published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970

Editorial Reviews

"Superb ... A work to stand beside literature of any time and place." (San Francisco Chronicle)